The numerical simulation of landslides is a complex task, due to the complex characterization of the landslide bulk material, the highly deforming shape of the sliding bodies, and the large size of the events. The PFEM has shown to have some potential in this field thanks to its capacity of capturing evolving free surfaces and the possibility of using accurate constitutive models for the landslide material.

In [2], a plasticity model with Mohr–Coulomb yield criterion was used. In [5], an elastic- viscoplastic model was employed to model the progressive failure analysis of sensitive clays.  A Bingham model was used in [1] and a frictional viscoplastic model was employed in [3]. A regularized μ­(I)-rheology for 2D and 3D dense granular flows can be found in [6]. In [4], the importance of boundary conditions on the basal surface was highlighted for 3D simulations of landslides.

Granular flow modeled with PFEM and μ(I)-rheology [6]

The work [1] represents the first applications of PFEM to the simulation of landslides-generated waves, the multi-hazard scenario produced by the impact of landslides in water reservoirs. In [7], the PFEM was employed to reproduce the impact of a water landslide on a water laboratory channel and the consequent creation and propagation of a tsunami wave.

Tsunami wave created by a water landslide [7]

Wave generated by the impact of a granular material [8]

Recently, in [8] and [9] the Vajont landslide and the consequent impulse wave in the hydroelectric reservoir was reproduced using a three-dimensional PFEM formulation.

PFEM simulation of the Vajont disaster [8]


[1] Cremonesi M, Frangi A, Perego U (2011) A Lagrangian finite element approach for the simulation of water-waves induced by landslides. Comput Struct 89(11–12):1086–1093 
[2] Zhang X, Krabbenhoft K, Sheng D, Li W (2015) Numerical simulation of a flow-like landslide using the particle finite element method. Comput Mech 55(1):167–177 
[3] Salazar F, Irazabal J, Larese A, Oñate E (2016) Numerical modelling of landslide-generated waves with the particle finite element method (PFEM) and a non-Newtonian flow model. Int J Numer Anal Methods Geomech 40:809–826 
[4] Cremonesi M, Ferri F, Perego U (2017) A basal slip model for Lagrangian finite element simulations of 3D landslides. Int J Numer Anal Methods Geomech 41:30–53 
[5] Zhang X, Sheng D, Sloan S, Bleyer J (2017) Lagrangian modelling of large deformation induced by progressive failure of sensitive clays with elastoviscoplasticity. Int J Numer Methods Eng 112(8):963–989 
[6] Franci A, Cremonesi M (2019) 3D regularized μ­(I)-rheology for Granular flows simulation. J Comput Phys 378:257–277 
[7] Mulligan RP, Franci A, Celigueta MA, Take WA (2020) Simulations of landslide wave generation and propagation using the Particle Finite Element Method. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, e2019JC015873
[8] Franci A, Cremonesi M, Perego U, Crosta GB, Oñate E (2020) 3D simulation of the Vajont disaster. Part 1: numerical formulation and validation. Engineering Geology, 105854 
[9] Franci A, Cremonesi M, Perego U, Oñate E, Crosta GB (2020) 3D simulation of the Vajont disaster. Part 2: multi-failure scenarios. Engineering Geology, 105856
[10] Cremonesi M, Franci A, Idelsohn SR, Oñate E (2020) A state of the art review of the Particle Finite Element Method (PFEM). Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering, 17, 1709-1735